The Greek coast guard has rescued 216 undocumented migrants in the Aegean Sea, authorities said Thursday, according to the Associated Press (AP). The migrants were reportedly sailing overnight from the Turkish coast to nearby islands belonging to Greece.
The people were reportedly rescued in eight separate incidents, bringing the total number of migrants attempting to make the crossing this week to over 1,500. The migrants were reportedly picked up near the islands of Kos, Lesbos and Chios -- close to Turkey -- AP reported, citing the coast guard, adding that it was not clear where the rescued people originally came from.
Authorities reportedly said that the number of undocumented immigrants arriving in Greece more than tripled in the first three months of 2015 compared to the same period in the previous year.
A growing number of migrants and refugees from the Middle East and Africa are attempting to enter the European Union through Greece and Italy in recent months, prompting Greece, which is dealing with a collapsed economy, to call for help from the EU to deal with the situation. About 30,000 migrants have reportedly arrived this year.
On Wednesday, the EU asked its member states to admit, over the next two years, 40,000 migrants from Syria and Eritrea who have crossed the Mediterranean, and reached Italy and Greece.